My thoughts about tonight's debate:
Ravenstahl put in an entirely uninspiring performance. He makes me think of just exactly what he is, a kid with a second rate education trying to sound impressive even though he is not fully sure what is going on. That said, he made no major gaffes and he had a surprising command of some facts. He made quite a few minor gaffes in my opinion, but you would need a seasoned, alert debater to catch those and turn them against Ravenstahl, and Pat Dowd was not that debater.
The point where Dowd did catch the Mayor flip flopping, on campaign reform, the Mayor simply toughed it out. Dowd was correct, the Mayor did a one eighty on camera, completely reversing what he had said previously. And by pretending he had not said it before, it did not seem like the Mayor was reversing himself. He flat got away with it.
There was a point where that situation was reversed. The Mayor tried to catch Dowd up on his support for the gun control bill that Dowd had spoken against, and then voted for. Dowd’s explanation that he was swayed by what police officers said was reasonable and somewhat convincing, but when the Mayor said “if you thought it was a bad bill, why not vote against it?”, I think the Mayor scored a little bit. Anyone undecided about whom to vote for did not get much help tonight.
Not to sound snooty, but I was not impressed with Carmen Robinson. She may draw off some African American voters, who probably were going to vote for Ravenstahl (no one seems to be able to explain why, at least not satisfactorily). If Dowd had made an effort to get the African American vote (even DeSantis showed up on Perrysville Ave) … but I guess Robinson being in the race might mean he loses by a few less percentage points.
There is at least one more televised debate. I hope Dowd throws caution to the wind, and goes for the jugular. He should start the debate pointing out that Ravenstahl is the beneficiary of being Mayor at the end of the first five year Act 47 plan, which destroyed Tom Murphy’s career, by the way. Dowd should hammer on what happens next, when we go into a new five year plan. How many police will we have to lay off this time? Will the State step in and appoint an executive to run the City because Ravenstahl obviously can’t? These are the things I would say if I were Pat Dowd. Maybe they aren’t totally fair, but since when did fair matter in politics? The trick is to go for our gut.